Last week we finished our “Church Words” series. This series was a really cool opportunity to look at some words that we as Christians often use but often don’t fully understand. During the series thus far we discussed: Sin, The Gospel, and Repentance. When we begin to understand these three words we get an explanation of what the Christian faith claims. We have all sinned and this is a problem because sin separates us from God and brings death. The Gospel however is very “good news” because it tells us that Jesus paid the death we owe and therefore we have the ability to be made right with God through believing in His promise and excepting His free gift of grace. Repentance then speaks of our response; we have been saved by grace through faith and if you believe that your life should be different. Repentance is turning from your own sinful ways and beginning to live the way God intends. This is where many people hit a problem. To turn from sin is clearly what we want to do when we become a Christian, but it is not always easy. Sin is fun, it is tempting, and it is what we are used to doing. If we rely on our own will to keep us from sinning, we may very well end up right back where we started. The question then is “How can we find the strength to resist falling back into our old ways?”
The apostle Paul answers our question very simply in the book of Galatians. Paul writes in Galatians 5:16: “Walk by the Spirit and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.” Paul says that the key to breaking from our sinful desires is to walk by the Spirit. Sounds simple enough, but what does this really mean and how do we do it? Thats exactly the question we aim to answer as we unpack this weeks church word (or phrase): “walk by the Spirit”.
The first thing we need to understand is who the Spirit is. The Spirit Paul refers to here is the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is God; He is a member of the trinity. The Spirit is seen in the life and ministry of Jesus at many points, and in a passage found in John 14:25-26 Jesus actually tells us that when He goes away to be with the Father, He will send to us the Holy Spirit to help us. He tells us that the Spirit will be with us and that He will soon be in us. Jesus states that the Spirit He sends will be a Helper who will teach us and help us remember all that Jesus has said.
So this then is how the Spirit relates to us today, He was sent to us by the Father in the name of Jesus. The Spirit now lives in us and one of His main roles in our lives its to work in us to make us more like Jesus. When Paul tells us to walk by the Spirit he begins to give us this picture of letting the Holy Spirit be our guide.Paul tells us that we should allow the Spirit to lead us so that we can put the old ways to death. The question then is how do we actually let the Holy Spirit lead us, how do we let Him be our guide?
One of the key ways we can let the Spirit guide us is through the reading of scripture. Reading the Bible on your own can be confusing and very challenging. Luckily for the believer, the Holy Spirit has been given to us to help us understand the truths found in scripture. The problem is that many christians do not tap into this amazing resource that they’ve been given. The Spirit offers us this wisdom and guidance, but we have to ask Him to be our guide. Before diving into a time of reading, we aught to spend time sitting with God and asking Him to teach us as we read His word.
The Holy Spirit is the same Spirit who inspired the writers of the Bible. This means that there is no better teacher for us, the very Spirit that inspired the scriptures its the same Spirit that lives in us. We just have to ask for His help and he is ready to give it.
This emphasizes the relationship nature that we need with the Spirit. When we walk with Him it will always be a mix of our effort and His power. We have to be willing to let Him lead and He has promised to be our Guide. If we ask, he will help teach us the truth in scripture but we then must put in the effort to read and try to understand. The Spirit walks with us so we must remember that we are not alone in our attempts to live out this faith but we must also be willing to walk in step with Him. He will be our power, but we must choose to follow.
We must learn to ask for the Spirit’s help and guidance in all areas of our life. The Spirit will show us where we need to be made more like Christ and we have to be willing to let Him lead us in that area of our life. If you live each day controlled and guided by the Holy Spirit than the words of christ will be in your mind, the love of Christ will be behind your actions, and the power of Christ will help you control your selfish desires